Sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself to get it right…

Google is laying the groundwork to build its own self-driving car—without a major auto manufacturer as partner
By Christopher Mims August 23, 201320130825-123815.jpgGoogle Ventures reportedly invests $250 million in Uber By Jacob Kastrenakes on August 23, 2013
Just think……

The Tesla Model S Is So Safe It Broke the Crash-Testing Gear
BY DAMON LAVRINC 08.20.1320130825-123928.jpgTesla California sales beat Chrysler, Volvo, Cadillac, other big names
Electric car maker snatches 12 percent of luxury sports category in first half of 2013.
by Lee Hutchinson – Aug 23 201320130825-124049.jpg Will the success of Tesla’s Model S speed along a $35k model with a 200-mile range?
By Amir Iliaifar — August 13, 2013

Autonomous electric taxi’s ( call them Charles) can (like a regular taxi) drop off and pick up at the curb, dense pack park, and get a range extending charge…or go pick up another fare, while the original call is shopping, chatting, exercising, etc. They make a huge amount of sense for two user demographics, the elderly who are still able to get around but perhaps are no longer safe drivers or even more likely don’t want to or cannot justify owning a personal vehicle. Second, the urbanite non driver of whom their are many, Charles provides the same service the hordes of yellow taxis do today, with reduced emissions and probably cost along with improved safety. Charles can also provide a vastly more personalized limo type service to elder home clusters in the ‘burbs. Even for suburbanites Charles makes a one car or no car life style thinkable.

Your .50 cal rifle not ‘doing it’ for you any longer, what about .905?

Gun company displays largest-caliber rifle ever created with bullets that cost $40 a piece

  • The .905-caliber rifle fires rounds about 2,100 feet per second
  • The gun also has 2,777 foot-pounds of recoil energy, which essentially makes it as powerful – and gives it about as much ‘kick’ – as firing 10 .30-6 rifles at the same time.
  • The company has only produced three of the uber-powerful rifles

20130803-185212.jpg20130803-185220.jpgRead more at the Daily Mail, UK, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2383113/Gun-company-displays-largest-caliber-rifle-created-bullets-cost-40-piece.html the American gun culture is a continuing horror show for many in the UK, as our home invasion and violent crime rates go down and theirs goes up.

Motley Fool // Is Sony the Next Apple?

Is Sony the Next Apple?
By Leo Sun – June 26, 2013

There is a lot of evidence suggesting that Cook doesn’t know where to go from here – Apple’s stock buyback, dividend, and bond sale all indicate that the company could become a slow-growth tech stock like Microsoft and IBM. The iPad Mini and iOS 7 also suggested to investors that the road ahead would be reactionary, rather than revolutionary.

… Sony has expanded into is the phablets category, … a 6.4-inch screen …seriously pushing the acceptable size limit of a smartphone.

Although the Ultra seems like a goofy attempt to capture some of the phablet market from Samsung, I believe that it could gain some serious ground when used in tandem with the SmartWatch 2 and a Bluetooth headset. Many consumers could stow the Ultra in a bag, while using the SmartWatch to check on basic information and tasks while using a Bluetooth headset to make calls or listen to music. To view movies, make video calls or games, the Ultra could be brought out and used like a normal tablet.

I’m no sure Apple has lost it’s mojo but I agree there is evidence of it.

I think that the latest iteration of blue tooth and general tech advances definitely plays to the padPhone+smartWatch+headSet combo and maybe, maybe Apple missed it.

Apple IMO also has missed the stylus revolution, pads of all sizes need sophisticated hand writing, sketch, art input capability to jump another level of ubiquitous usefulness.

I hope Apple is looking at things like 3D Printing, scanning and model manipulation and creation, in the same way they took on the 2D Printing world, there would be a real break out stroke.

Tyranny of Data, McNamara’s whiz kids to Google’s geek culture

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Body count: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara briefing the press on Vietnam at the Pentagon in 1965.

Read more: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514591/the-dictatorship-of-data/#ixzz2V67sF8kO From MIT Technology Review
Seems to me that McNamara epitomized the dark heart of the blue model industrialization, he was trying to make central planning work using the tools of capitalism. Big data has the the potential to make Stalinist (central planned top down industrial society) real like no tool before it. But at the same time the underlying technology will make centralization ever less attractive overall, ever less economically efficient. Some nations may fall to Big Data / Big Brother but they are not likely to become conquerors by economic or military coercion because the Maker States will be so much more resilient and efficient. Of course that assumes short sighted politicians/bureaucrats don’t take us all down some ‘consensus’ path because of short term returns that fools take as structural not ephemeral.

3rd Power Law, 0 Complexity premium, working memes for 3D Printing

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A 3-D printed table … with holes and all. Photo: rosemarybeetle / Flickr

WIRED http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/05/an-insiders-view-of-the-hype-and-realities-of-3-d-printing/

3-D printing is indeed an important fabrication technology, because it has the marvelous ability to make anything regardless of the complexity of the form.

BUT

Everything from cost and time to amount of material increases exponentially: specifically, to the third power. So if we want something twice as big, it will cost 8 times as much and take 8 times as long to print. If we want something three times as big, it will cost about 27 times more and takes 27 times longer to print. And so on.

Love simplifying memes, these are two great ones that help the mind focus on the issues involved when ‘discussions’ dealing with potentials are taking place.

Also in the article:
The reminder that these are not replicators, not yet anyway.

AND

That many of the technologies enabling 3D printing are enabling CNC machining, laser-cutting, robotics and more, at DIY / hobbyist scale.

Binge Watching Is Changing Our Culture

WIRED // From Arrested Development to Dr. Who, How Binge Watching Is Changing Our Culture
BY GRANT MCCRACKEN 05.24.13 6:30 PM

Dr. McCracken is onto something, his modest article provides some ideas with strong explanatory powers. To me It also says that media (creative side) adapts to society quite rapidly, while corporate side ($ collecting mechanisms) tries to slow change and rent seek.

phys.org | Do-it-yourself invisibility with 3-D printing

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“I would argue that essentially anyone who can spend a couple thousand dollars on a non-industry grade 3-D printer can literally make a plastic cloak overnight,” said Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.
Urzhumov said that producing a cloak in this fashion is inexpensive and easy. He and his team made a small one at Duke which looks like a Frisbee™ disc made out of Swiss cheese. Algorithms determined the location, size and shape of the holes to deflect microwave beams. The fabrication process takes from three to seven hours.
“Computer simulations make me believe that it is possible to create a similar polymer-based cloaking layer as thin as one inch wrapped around a massive object several meters in diameter,” he said. “I have run some simulations that seem to confirm this point.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-do-it-yourself-invisibility-d.html

Well ain’t that just Harry Potter cool?

Modeling distant Earths

20130503-210339.jpgModeling of various atmospheric pressures shows that Exo earths could have life friendly atmospheres across a broader range of orbital distances than our thin aired original. Since we are ‘seeing’ a lot of big worlds out there this is promising, though of course too much of a good thing is bad, as our sister world Venus shows.

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A figure from Vladilo’s paper summarizing the general findings. The area of the circles is proportional to their habitability. The bottom axis shows the virtual worlds’ distance from their Sun-like star, with 1 AU (astronomical unit) representing the average Sun-Earth distance of approximately 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). The top axis (insolation) shows solar radiation (in watts) received on a unit area (a square meter). Surface pressure is on the y axis to the left. Credit: Vladilo et al. 2013, ApJ, 767, 65; http://wwwuser.oats.inaf.it/astrobiology/planhab/

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-pressure-density-exoplanets-atmospheres-odds.html#jCp

Eyeball Earths…Red or Brown Dwarf Life Worlds?

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Artist’s concept of a planet where one side always faces its star, with the dark side covered in ice. Credit: Beau.TheConsortium

Red dwarfs are small, faint stars about one-fifth as massive as the Sun and up to 50 times dimmer. They are the most common stars in the galaxy and make up to 70 percent of the stars in the universe, vast numbers that potentially make them valuable places to look for extraterrestrial life. Indeed, the latest results from NASA’s Kepler space observatory reveal that at least half of these stars host rocky planets that are half to four times the mass of Earth.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-eyeball-earths.html#jCp

Meta material technique allows for high efficiency coupling of light on a surface AND the ability to switch direction via polarization

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An electron micrograph shows the nanoscale perforations at the surface of the plasmonic coupler. Credit: Jiao Lin and Balthasar Müller.
(Phys.org) —A Harvard-led team of researchers has created a new type of nanoscale device that converts an optical signal into waves that travel along a metal surface. Significantly, the device can recognize specific kinds of polarized light and accordingly send the signal in one direction or another.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-04-physicists-left-solution-on-chip-optics.html

Pretty important stuff, ducting light around on chips is an important ability for future electronics…or maybe one should say, nano- electro- optic- systems. Cool stuff…